FB Ivan Williams May Return Saturday

Texas coaches are hopeful that FB <B>Ivan Williams</B> will be cleared to play against Tulane, head coach <B>Mack Brown</B> said Monday. Williams, who logged 13 starts last season, returned to non-contact drills last week after tearing a tendon in his left knee in a pick-up game of basketball last February.

"It’ll be great to get him back out on the field," Brown said. "We’re hoping he’ll be out there tomorrow. It’ll be great for him."

And great for Texas. It was as if Texas coaches first discovered Williams as a receiving threat at the midway point of last season. The senior had just two receptions for 42 yards during the first seven games of 2002. After that, the 6-1, 240-pounder rolled to 213 yards on 18 grabs (12.8 ypc during his final six outings).

Speaking of injuries, defensive coordinator Carl Reese said during the preseason that his unit will essentially be as sound as his DE’s are healthy. That’s why it was critical to get another Williams (LDE Mike Williams) back on the playing field Saturday since starter Bryan Pickryl injured his shoulder against Arkansas and did not make the trip to Houston.

Mike Williams injured a knee just before the spring game in March and logged just two days of full contact drills all season. He was in on 15 snaps against the Owls.

"With his knee, we wanted to be smart with him and careful with him so that he didn’t get hurt," Brown said. "He played really well and he nearly had a sack. He was mad at himself. He had the guy near the ground and jumped at his (QB Greg Henderson) ankles as the guy was running away from him and he lost the sack. So, he was mad coming off the field and I thought that was a good sign."

Austin Sendlein (6-3, 265) started at LDE against Rice (although RDE starter Kalen Thornton took a substantial number of snaps at the spot as well). The junior was credited with two solo tackles Saturday and is actually the team’s sack leader with two (-23) on the young season. Yet, partly because of a leg injury, Sendlein reported to preseason workouts a bit heftier than coaches would have liked.

At 6-3, 240-pounds, Mike Williams adds a burst of speed to the pass rush just in time for pass-happy Tulane.

"(Williams) is the type of guy that can help us put pressure on the quarterback because he’s got such quickness coming off of the point," Brown said.

The Horns return to practice Tuesday and face the Green Wave at 6 p.m. Saturday at DKR (TBS broadcast).

Of note: the October 4 game against No. 16 Kansas State game has been set for 2:30 p.m. (ABC).

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